A fire the day after Christmas 2017 left a big hole in the heart of downtown Denton. One of the businesses which closed following the fire is finally reopening.
After a week of smaller "pop up" soft openings, Jupiter House Coffee will celebrate its grand re-opening Friday morning.
"It's kind of an on the square staple," said Denton resident Danielle Longueville, as she sipped a coffee with friends.
The coffee house is a staple that's been missing from Denton for almost a year-and-a-half. For owners Joey and Amy Hawkins, that road began when they received a phone call at 5:30 a.m. on December 26, 2017. The Downtown Mini Mall, located right next door to their business, was on fire.
"The fire was a bad day," said Longueville. "A real bad day, I feel like, for everyone here in Denton."
The four alarm fire leveled the Downtown Mini Mall, and caused smoke and water damage to three other businesses, including Jupiter House. Walls between the businesses kept the fire from spreading.
"I thought smoke and water damage," said Joey Hawkins. "We're going to mop stuff up and wipe things back down, and were going to be back open."
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But the building was full of asbestos, and had to be gutted. The entire coffee shop needed to be rebuilt. The Hawkins' had their doubts.
"There were moments when we didn't know if we felt like doing this again or going through this again," he said. "It's been tough."
Which is why scenes like what took place Thursday – with a steady flow of customers visiting the business during the last soft opening -- mean so much.
"So many people have come in and given us big hugs and said thank you for coming back," said Amy Hawkins. "That feeds our soul, because it was so hard to get here."
The coffee shop, which was remodeled just four months before the fire, will re-open for good on Friday morning. A fence blocks a vacant lot where the Downtown Mini Mall once stood. It's owners have not announced future plans for the space. Two other storefronts on the other side of the lot remain vacant, though the clothing store La Di Da expects to reopen in the Spring, according to a social media post.
The support from customers – both online and in-person – means a lot to the coffee shop owners, who purchased the business in 2007.
"I feel privileged. I feel overwhelmed," said Joey Hawkins. "It's turned into something, it's bigger than us. So that's pretty special."
Many Jupiter House customers feel the same. A piece of Denton -- is back.